What is an Acne Mask?

B. Miller

An acne mask is a facial treatment designed to combat acne and prevent its recurrence. Acne masks are treatments designed to be spread on the skin of the face, and left for a few minutes to half an hour, depending on the directions They help dry up existing blemishes and remove excess oil from the skin. These facial masks may be made with varying ingredients, but clay is a common base.

A boy with acne.
A boy with acne.

In addition to the clay, an acne-treating medication such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide may be included as well. Menthol or camphor may be added to an acne mask to provide a cooling effect while the mask is on the skin. Some acne masks actually do the opposite, and may heat up when they are placed on the skin. Any of these types of acne masks can be effective against blemishes and oily skin. It is largely a matter of personal preference and what appears to be most effective at treating one's case of acne.

Acne masks are used to treat and prevent facial acne.
Acne masks are used to treat and prevent facial acne.

Keep in mind that an acne mask is often very drying; this is one of the purposes of an acne mask, to dry up oily skin. However, causing skin to become too dry can actually make it secrete more oil, and exacerbate the acne problem. For that reason, it is important to follow the directions, and only use an acne mask as needed. It is generally a good idea to use a mask no more than once or twice per week. Another option is to alternate the use of an acne mask with a gentler clay mask, without any included medicated ingredients.

Once the mask has been applied, it will generally dry on the face, causing the skin to feel tight. Once the specified amount of time has passed, gently wipe the mask off with a warm wash cloth. It may be a good idea to apply an acne-fighting moisturizer to the skin after the mask has been removed. If the mask does not improve the appearance of acne, or causes burning or irritation, it may be necessary to try a different type of mask.

It is possible to make an acne mask at home with ingredients found around the house. Some effective acne treatments include baking soda, aloe, egg whites, yogurt, or oatmeal, just to name a few. Searching online will bring up numerous simple recipes. Additionally, these homemade acne masks may be gentler on sensitive skin, and may be easier to apply to other areas of the body that may have unfortunate breakouts, such as the back.

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